To get to the Sugar Mill Grill you must enter De Leon Springs State Park, an idyllic recreation area with boat rides and picnic tables and opportunities to hike and bird-watch. The park is a popular destination and the restaurant is a small one, so almost any time of day you will very likely wait for a table. It is located in an old mill building in the beautiful area where explorers once sought the Fountain of Youth.
After you are seated, it’s time to start cooking pancakes. Talk about serve-yourself! The staff brings two pitchers of pancake batter – a milled-here, stone-ground, buckwheat-style batter as well as more traditional buttermilk batter – plus whatever mix-ins you feel you need (bananas, blueberries, pecans, apple chunks, peanut butter, chocolate chips, apple sauce are all available for a slight extra cost), and you pour and flip your own on a griddle built into the table. Sausage, bacon, and ham are also available … but cooked by professionals in the kitchen. Pancake toppings include molasses, honey, and syrup.
It’s fun to punctuate the process of eating pancakes by cooking them at your own speed and in your own favorite size; you can keep pouring batter until you bust. Pancakes are served from morning until the restaurant’s closing time, mid-afternoon. It is also possible to order a sandwich on house-made whole grain bread.
Note: De Leon Springs State Park has entrance fees, which range from $2 for a bicyclist or pedestrian to $4 for a motorcycle to $6 for a carload.